The 10 Biggest Mistakes in Hotel Digital Marketing

By Dave Spector Partner, Tambourine | June 14, 2015

Over the years, my team and I have seen it all. We've also made and fixed every marketing mistake imaginable. From not asking owners for the proper budget, to ignoring past guest data or ignoring guest reviews, we've made all the missteps that we still see many hotels making today. But, those types of blunders can make you smarter. That's why we want to unveil them to you (and offer solutions) so you can easily spot the common issues that are barricading your hotel's revenue-producing efforts.

With more than 25 years of hotel marketing under our belt, my team and I have seen, created, and fixed it all. We've also made all the marketing mistakes you could imagine. Pinpoint something that could go wrong with a campaign and most likely, we've been there. We want you to learn from our mistakes, as they're likely the same ones you're making right now.

Here are the Top 10 Biggest Mistakes In Hotel Digital Marketing. You may be surprised to discover that some have nothing to do with the actual digital marketing activity… How many is your hotel guilty of?

1. Believing Flashy Marketing Can Mask a Bad Product

Don't oversell or overhype your hotel, unless your product is genuinely worthy of it. This is about being honest with your yourself and your guests. If you're selling an inferior product, first order of business should be to fix it. Don't rely on staged photos or flowery copy to put lipstick on your pig. If you set expectations too high and disappoint your guests, they WILL get back at you. Whether that's bashing you online or complaining disdainfully to your front desk staff, they'll find a way to unleash their anger of being 'duped' by your devious marketing tactics.

The smartest (and most cost effective) place to begin improvements is with your service. First, let go of the bad apples in your staff. Then, reiterate your hospitality standards until your staff feels empowered to do what it takes to make your guests happy.

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The hotel industry has undertaken a long-term effort to build more responsible and socially conscious businesses. What began with small efforts to reduce waste - such as paperless checkouts and refillable soap dispensers - has evolved into an international movement toward implementing sustainable development practices. In addition to establishing themselves as good corporate citizens, adopting eco-friendly practices is sound business for hotels. According to a recent report from Deloitte, 95% of business travelers believe the hotel industry should be undertaking “green” initiatives, and Millennials are twice as likely to support brands with strong management of environmental and social issues. Given these conclusions, hotels are continuing to innovate in the areas of environmental sustainability. For example, one leading hotel chain has designed special elevators that collect kinetic energy from the moving lift and in the process, they have reduced their energy consumption by 50%  over conventional elevators. Also, they installed an advanced air conditioning system which employs a magnetic mechanical system that makes them more energy efficient. Other hotels are installing Intelligent Building Systems which monitor and control temperatures in rooms, common areas and swimming pools, as well as ventilation and cold water systems. Some hotels are installing Electric Vehicle charging stations, planting rooftop gardens, implementing stringent recycling programs, and insisting on the use of biodegradable materials. Another trend is the creation of Green Teams within a hotel's operation that are tasked to implement earth-friendly practices and manage budgets for green projects. Some hotels have even gone so far as to curtail or eliminate room service, believing that keeping the kitchen open 24/7 isn't terribly sustainable. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to integrate sustainable practices into their operations and how they are benefiting from them.